Local News

Police Brutality Trial Continues in Durham

Posted October 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— An expert consultant working for Reginald Craig says no police officer anywhere should ever use a metal flashlight to hit someone unless that officer's life in endangered.

Fred Robinette demonstrated how heavy and dangerous a typical police flashlight is during the first day of testimony in a police brutality trial involving the Durham Police Department.

Two times in as many months, Durham's officers have been compelled to defend their actions on the job. Reginald Craig of Durham claims two police officers roughed him up ending a routine traffic stop with violence. Officer J.R. Cleary and another former officer say they were acting in self defense.

Although the officers aren't willing to comment on the case, Craig's told WRAL there is more to the story.

The City of Durham has just settled another police conduct case out of court for $295,000. Now a jury is being asked to decide if the officers engaged in brutality.

One witness says she saw no reason why two officers beat Reginald Craig on October 16, 1994. She witnessed the beating from her bedroom window. Attorneys for the two officers say the woman could not have seen exactly what happened in the early morning darkness, and claim that she gave conflicting statements in pre-trial affidavits.

High profile witnesses like former police chief Jackie McNeill have yet to testify.

The witness who took the stand Thursday claims the police never questioned her about her story. The officers' attorney says she's having trouble keeping her story straight.

Testimony in this case is expected to continue for about two weeks.

andKerrie Hudzinski